In the eBook world, is price all that matters?
Do you get a great deal? Or do you get what you pay for?
I've had numerous conversations with authors and readers about what is fair pricing on ebooks. As an author, I am downright disturbed that price seems to have become the most important factor in the publishing world. When you look at the NYT Bestseller list and 15 of the top 20 are all $0.99 releases, I see that as a problem. Not just for authors, but for readers.
Don't get me wrong, I believe pricing should be fair, but I also think that reading should be about the CONTENT... about the actual story, and not the price.
As a writer this is my highest wish: "Good or bad.... Love it or hate it.... Can it be please be about the story and the writing?"
This picture has been circulated all over the internet and it puts it in perspective, doesn't it?
A $0.99 price on release for novellas and serials is awesome. But, a brand new, never before published book, 60,000 words or more with professional editing and cover design? Eh... not so much.
Especially when some of us, not so technically gifted, (*cough, *cough), need help with formatting, etc. We employ a host of other professional services, too: editors, cover models, photographers, publicists, blog hosts, advertising, and personal assistants.
$0.99 or even FREE on a back title? Boo Yah! That can be a great way to find new readers! Lower pre-order pricing on books in a series? That is an awesome reward for loyal readers, and I'm all over that! Anthologies for charity or that cross-promote with authors of like genre books? Sure! I want to help my readers find other books I feel they will enjoy at a good price. And, it helps all of the authors in the set find new readers.
BUT... (you knew there had to be one.)
It just makes me sad when I see authors releasing a new, full-length novel at such a low price. :(
We spend months, even years plotting, writing, editing and more editing.... it's hard work. It's days in front of the computer with little sleep, living on coffee, Diet Coke and Twinkies, giving up time with family and friends to meet deadlines. After all that, if we don't see our brand new work as worth more than a plain cheeseburger at Micky D's, can we expect our readers to?
When price is what motivates readers, price becomes the writer's focus as well. I sit here and ponder... would my readers want me to crank out 10 short books a year, or chop one of my novels in to a 5 part serial? When I ask them, they say an adament 'no'! But... when so many others are releasing at $0.99, those of us who are holding fast may lose our choice. I will go kicking and screaming into that dark night. I want it to be about my books, not the price. But... that is what the price-driven environment is doing to publishing.
A book is considered a novel if it's 60K or longer. Every one of my books range from 95K - 135K. I think fair ebook pricing is $2.99-$5.99 on release. $9.99? Pffffft! NO flipping way!! (Unless it's as long as War and Peace!)
What are your thoughts? I'd love to have you chime in!
If you want to read more about it, here's an article I wrote on the subject for Indie Author News. Give it a read HERE and join the discussion!